Water tower gets a $400K makeover

Jessica White

Right now, the campus water tower is covered by a big sheet.

The hilltop water tower on Terrace Drive will remain tented until late August to protect the atmosphere from hazardous lead exposure while workers replace the paint.

The tower was coated with lead-based paint when it was built, said city water plant manager Steve Hardesty, and the Environmental Protection Agency has since mandated that such paint must be stripped before a new paint job. Kent’s water towers are repainted about every 20 years, and this job costs about $400,000.

“It’s not cheap,” Hardesty said. “They’re stripping the old paint, and so to keep it from going in the atmosphere, they put that tent over it, and they have a big ventilation system in there that exchanges the air and filters everything.”

The money comes from a portion of residents’ water bills that go to a city capital water fund, Hardesty said. That fund also goes toward improvements like building new water lines and replacing pumps.

The city owns the tower and is funding its maintenance, but Kent State is paying for a small portion of the work to paint its athletic logo, said university spokesman Eric Mansfield.

“The screaming eagle will be back on there — on two sides instead of one,” Hardesty said.

The job will be complete by the time fall classes start on Aug. 26, Hardesty said.

Contact Jessica White at [email protected].